I WAS 22 YEARS OLD when I wrote "Heartaches Laugh At Me." At the time I was on a Fats Domino and Elvis kick. So I was playing Fats' swamp pop style on the keyboard and doing my best "A-wella wella" attempts at an Elvis impersonation.
During the recording of this song, I remember Steve Logan (one of the session players) talking me out of playing the Fats Domino triplets because "it sounds too old-fashioned." And the engineer wasn't too keen on me using the Elvis "slap-back" delay on my vocals. He tried to steer me towards just a little bit of reverb instead. I insisted I wanted the slap-back; and with a wry smile, he relented and let me have my way. So I won one of two battles.
This was in the early '70s in Nashville during my first big-time recording session with veteran session players. I eventually learned that "winning battles" was highly overrated and that heeding the pros' advice yielded better results. Those guys had played on more hit records than I'd ever hope to listen to!
Actually the best memory I have of recording this particular song involved the steel player - the legendary Buddy Emmons. He had just gotten himself a new toy - a fuzz-tone.. It was an effects pedal that you plugged your guitar into, and it would slightly distort the sound, imparting a "gritty" tone to the signal. He had been playing with this unit right up until the session started, and he decided he was going to use it on this song. So if you listen closely, at 1 minute and 7 seconds into the song, you'll hear Buddy's infamous rock 'n roll steel guitar licks - played through his brand-new fuzz tone!